Amidst the smell of beer and deep fried everything at the Stanislaus County Fair yesterday was something on the sweeter side — fresh fruit.
The scent drifted especially from Turlock’s Cipponeri Family Farms, one of the several booths at the Stanislaus County Fair Farmers’ Market.
The Fair Farmers' Market schedule is July 15 through 17 from 5 to 10 p.m.
Some vendors, including Cipponeri Family Farms, plan on opening their booth at every market. According to Nick Cipponeri, the booth will be offering produce as usual, but also some special fair treats for those who want a healthy snack freshly prepared.
As Cipponeri made change for another Fair vendor with the one and five dollar bills he had, it was clear why the produce stand has stood the test of time, and as a friendly cowboy excitedly approached the booth, it was also clear that Cipponeri customers are loyal.
“I only get my produce from you guys, man!” the customer exclaimed as Cipponeri shook his hand with a smile and thanks.
Last year at the Fair Farmers’ Market, the Cipponeri workers noticed fair-goers preferred prepared fruit to eat on the go, as opposed to the average shoppers at other markets and stands that are stalking groceries for home.
“People don’t always want to carry around bags of fruit here,” said Cipponeri.
But with the bright idea of fruit on the go in an ag-heavy valley at a farmer-heavy fair, the Cipponeris found success.
They have coined a “fruit cup sundae” for fair-goers that includes a cup of fresh fruit with a variety of toppings, from caramel to chocolate. They also serve a thirst-quenching watermelon juice with nothing added, just the way it should be.
Other vendors at the Stanislaus County Fair Farmers’ Market included the Chopping Block Butcher Shop and Deli, Cobblestone Bakery, Ruiz Produce, and Almondipity and California Marcona Almonds.
Both Almondipity and California Marcona Company are owned and operated by Aaron Brown and his wife Norik Naraghi, daughter of Wendell Naraghi, and granddaughter of Nora and Hashem Naraghi, from whom California State University, Stanislaus’s science building gets its namesake.
So although the two brands, Almondipity and California Marcona Almonds, are only about a year old, the knowledge of the farming family goes back generations, as the almonds are grown in the orchards of Naraghi Farms.
Each brand has its own kind of “flavor” to it, as Almondipity focuses on its one-ingredient almond butter and its health minded customers, while Marcona caters to those seeking to pair their almonds with a nice cheese or wine.
Like Cipponeri Family Farms, Almondipity is featuring its own specials for the Fair Farmers’ Market, including packages of strawberries with almond butter. The company also prides itself on offering unique flavors, including “dusted mocha” almonds.
Many of the vendors at the Fair Farmers’ Market often attend other local markets to share their goods, but the Fair farmers’ market provides an opportunity for a lot of foot traffic and some new faces to reach the local growers, bakers, and butchers.
The East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District’s (ESRCD) new program, Stanislaus Grown, sponsored the Fair Farmers' Market, coordinating the vendors who will be open there. At a booth there, the ESRCD will also be handing out a printed Stanislaus Grown Local Food & Farm Guide.
The Stanislaus County Fair Farmers’ Market is located directly across from the VFW’s burger booth and next to American Medical Response's 10-minute CPR course.